Omri Kohl started his first business — making and delivering sandwiches — while he was in college. Within a year, the business funded his education.
For more than 20 years, Kohl, who calls himself “an entrepreneur at heart,” has been building startups and “turning them into successful, industry leading companies.”
He’s now the co-founder and CEO of Pyramid Analytics, a Bellevue, Wash.-based business-intelligence technology company — and he’s GeekWire’s latest Geek of the Week.
Seeing how pervasive data was across every organization, Kohl said he and two colleagues formed what became Pyramid in 2008. Their vision was to create a fully-featured business intelligence platform that was flexible enough to fit into any company’s environment.
Pyramid Analytics’ customers span industries around the world and include Hallmark, Equifax, Volkswagen Group Ireland, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Blue Cross of Idaho and Gonzaga University, to name a few.
“We are extremely gratified to see how our platform has transformed and empowered hundreds of enterprise companies to make data-driven decisions,” Kohl said.
Kohl believes he can change every company’s culture and behavior through data analytics, and it’s a dream he’s chasing.
“As technology becomes more advanced, the insights are limitless,” Kohl said. “Harnessing those insights and being able to utilize them in a meaningful way to transform businesses is what Pyramid Analytics does. In a nutshell, we make complex business analytics simple and universally available to users in any role regardless of skill level.”
Learn about this week’s Geek of the Week, Omri Kohl:
What do you do, and why do you do it? “My professional title is co-founder and CEO, leading strategy and operations, but I like to think of myself more as a builder. Currently in my fourth co-founding CEO role it is evident I love building companies. I enjoy seeing something grow and having a life of its own and working through the stages of having an idea, developing it, building the idea into a product and selling it to the market. I take great pride in looking back to see where Pyramid Analytics started and to where we are now — a global company.”
What’s the single most important thing people should know about your field? “I am in the business of data, and when you’re a company, data is everything and everywhere. Big Data has been a buzzword in the industry for quite a while now which has driven companies to collect lots and lots of data. Companies understand the importance of data in their businesses but they don’t know how to harvest it in a way that drives decision-making and moves the business forward. Understanding the story your data is telling is the key to building a better, smarter and stronger company.”
Where do you find your inspiration? “In everything — people, music, places but most of all, great conversations.”
What’s the one piece of technology you couldn’t live without, and why? “The OFF button, sometimes you must disconnect and restart to be better.”
What’s your workspace like, and why does it work for you? “I don’t believe in a dedicated workspace; it’s limiting and counterproductive. For me, my workspace is anywhere I currently am that could range from sitting in a coffee shop to snowboarding down a mountain.”
Your best tip or trick for managing everyday work and life. (Help us out, we need it.) “Hire people smarter than you and let them do their job. If you can’t do that, you’re not a leader.”
Mac, Windows or Linux? “No discrimination, they each have a room in my world.”
Kirk, Picard, or Janeway? “Luke Skywalker.”
Transporter, Time Machine or Cloak of Invisibility? “None of the above.”
If someone gave me $1 million to launch a startup, I would … “Use it very, very wisely.”
I once waited in line for … “I don’t wait in line. I’m a seller, not a buyer. I want to create the line that would drive the demand.”
Your role models: “If you force me to think then you are my role model.”
Greatest game in history: “Game of Thrones.”
Best gadget ever: “Onewheel.”
First computer: “Commodore 64.”
Current phone: “iPhone 6+.”
Favorite app: “Flipboard.”
Favorite cause: “Equal opportunity for kids.”
Most important technology of 2016: “IOT: In the world of data it’s not enough to connect everything to the internet. As we are collecting these mass amounts of data from IOT devices we need to understand what we can do with it to drive change and innovation. Data is a commodity; you just need to know how to harvest it.”
Most important technology of 2018: “Artificial Intelligence: AI is one of the most interesting technologies we will see in the next decade, but also the most frightening. What type of moral society will we have when the person sitting next to you is a robot and it doesn’t matter if he lives or dies? This technology is going to have a huge impact on humankind.”
Final words of advice for your fellow geeks: “Never say never, never stop believing.”
Website: Entrepreneur blog by Omri Kohl
LinkedIn: Omri Kohl